Round Ligament Pain During Pregnancy

October 6, 2011 by  
Filed under Round Ligament Pain



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imageRound ligament pain is very common during pregnancy. It causes sharp pain that radiates in the abdominal or hip area and can also refer pain into the groin and legs. The pain may be on one side or both sides and can be intensified by movement. This is not considered a cause for concern.

Causes of Round Ligament Pain During Pregnancy

The round ligaments help to support the uterus. During pregnancy your uterus expands and places strain on your round ligament. This can produce a great deal of discomfort with sharp twinges between your hip bone and uterus. Movements such as coughing, sneezing or laughing activate these muscles quickly and can cause pain. Generally this pain is brief in duration.

Preventing Round Ligament Pain During Pregnancy

  • Practice prenatal yoga and regular stretching.
  • Get rest.
  • Image of the Pregnancy Pain Relief book

  • Use techniques such as those in the Pregnancy Pain Relief book.
  • Be sure to drink plenty of water.
  • Make sure you are getting adequate calcium and magnesium in your diet.
  • If you know you are going to sneeze or cough bend and flex your hips. There will be less strain on the round ligament if you are bent.
  • Try bringing your knees up toward your chest.
  • Change positions slowly to prevent the ligaments from contracting as much.
  • Use a pregnancy pillow at night to help relax your body as much as possible.

Treatment for Round Ligament Pain During Pregnancy

  • See a massage therapist, chiropractor or acupuncturist.
  • Take a warm bath.
  • Pregnancy Pain relief techniques.
  • Try a pregnancy support belt.

When You Should Call Your Doctor

  • Your pain lasts for prolonged time periods.
  • Your round ligament pain is accompanied by bleeding or spotting.




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Rib Pain and Shortness of Breath During Pregnancy

October 6, 2011 by  
Filed under Rib Pain & Shortness of Breath



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pregnancy rib pain, image of woman holding her ribsRib pain is common during pregnancy, especially in the last trimester. As the baby grows and fills up your abdomen it begins to put pressure on your ribs and chest, causing pain and shortness of breath. Though you may feel short of breath, your body is actually breathing 40-50 percent more air than before you were expecting. Your rib cage is widening as well. As your baby begins to drop preparing for delivery (called lightening), you may find rib pain and shortness of breath will ease.

Causes of Rib Pain During Pregnancy

  • Pressure from your baby- Your baby is growing and pressing up on your ribcage. It is not uncommon to experience discomfort, heaviness, and feeling short of breath.
  • Pressure from your breasts- Your breasts are growing and becoming heavier. As your pregnancy progresses you most likely will grow one or more bra sizes. This extra weight from your breasts pulls on your shoulders and upper back and weighs on your rib cage.
  • Hormones- Hormones cause a loosening of all your muscles and ligaments including those in your upper back and ribs.
  • Pressure on your diaphragm- As your baby gets bigger in will nest just under your rib cage, putting pressure on your diaphragm making breathing more difficult. There are also several nerves in your diaphragm which can refer pain into your ribs and shoulders.
  • Stress- contributes to tension, anxiety, shortness of breath, shoulder pain and other pain.
  • Urinary Tract Infection- you may feel pain in your ribs due to a urinary infection. If you are experiencing rib and flank pain with kidney discomfort or difficulty urinating, painful urination or burning with urination contact your doctor.

Preventing Rib Pain During Pregnancy

Image of the Pregnancy Pain Relief book

  • Exercise and do regular stretching.
  • Practice Yoga.
  • Use Pregnancy Pain Relief techniques to loosen your body and take pressure off of your ribs, breasts and abdomen.
  • Try a new bra- be sure to get one that is very supportive, but not too tight. Under wire bras may press on your ribs and aggravate pain.
  • Wear loose clothing.
  • Be aware of your posture- sit up straight with your shoulders back and head up. Slouching will aggravate pain.
  • Practice prenatal Yoga.
  • Hold your arms over your head to expand your rib cage.
  • Do breathing exercises.
  • Use a pregnancy pillow for sleeping.
  • When resting, try laying on your left side or you can relax with your arms extended above your head.

Treatment for Rib Pain During Pregnancy

  • See a massage therapist, chiropractor or acupuncturist
  • Practice Stress Relieving Techniques.
  • Take acetaminophen for pain.
  • Use Pregnancy Pain Relief Techniques




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Pelvic Pain and Cramps During Pregnancy

October 6, 2011 by  
Filed under Pelvic Pain & Cramps



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baby-in-plevisEarly pregnancy can cause cramping or stretching feelings in your pelvis and abdomen. You may feel achy in your lower abdomen. This is generally normal and related to implantation and stretching of the uterus.

Causes of Pelvic Pain and Cramps During Pregnancy

  • Implantation- when the fetus implants and begins to grow inside your uterus it is common to experience some cramping similar to menstrual cramps.
  • Hormones- As your uterus expands and your body produces hormones to make your muscles, ligaments and tissues more elastic you may experience cramping, pulling, and painful twinges in your abdomen.
  • Urinary tract infection- Pelvic pain and cramping can be caused by urinary infections. Be especially aware of any burning sensation while urinating, difficult or frequent urination and pain in the kidney area in your back.
  • Orgasm- can cause cramping and contractions in the uterus. This is perfectly normal and not a cause for concern unless the cramping lasts for a prolonged period of time. Orgasms normally cause contractions of the uterus, but while pregnant your uterus is larger and more sensitive and you feel it more.
  • Ectopic Pregnancy- ectopic pregnancy is when the embryo implants somewhere outside of the uterus, generally in one of the fallopian tubes. If you are experiencing spotting or bleeding together with your cramping early in your pregnancy, contact your doctor.

Treatment for Pelvic Pain and Cramping During Pregnancy

  • Take a warm bath.
  • Be sure to exercise.
  • Walk around. Movement can be helpful.
  • Take acetaminophen for pain.

When You Should Call Your Doctor

  • You are having urinary urgency or burning on urination.
  • Your pain is severe.
  • Your pain is accompanied by spotting or bleeding.




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Back Pain at Night

October 6, 2011 by  
Filed under Back Pain at Night



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nightSleepMany women suffer with pregnancy back pain at night. This type of night back pain in pregnancy is called nocturnal back pain. You may have it on its own, or concurrently with low back or sacroiliac pain.

There are a couple of different theories as to why night back pain develops during pregnancy. One theory is that it is caused by muscle fatigue from being active all day. By the end of the day, your body becomes more fatigued, and thus you feel more discomfort toward the evening hours.

The second theory is that nocturnal back pain is due to water retention. This can lead to edema and an increased volume of blood. This additional water in the body can place pressure on the spinal nerves and muscles, resulting in backaches.

Some women have very severe back pain while sleeping during their pregnancy. The most important thing you can do is to avoid sleeping on your back during pregnancy. Lying on your back, or in the supine position, compresses major arteries and veins, namely the inferior vena cava and the aorta. This decreases circulation and allows fluid pressure to build up in the pelvis, which places pressure on the spinal nerves.

As your fetus grows, it also puts more and more pressure on your arteries and veins. The farther along you are in your pregnancy, the more important it is to avoid sleeping on your back. The healthiest sleeping position for you and your baby is on your sides. Resting on your left side will place the least amount of pressure on your spine.

In addition to side sleeping, supporting the uterus can help alleviate night back pain. To properly support your uterus, lay on your side with pillows under your abdomen and between your legs. This will help to support your uterus and keep your spine in a neutral position. There are several wonderful pregnancy pillows that can help to make sleeping much more comfortable.

It is also important to make special efforts during the day to adjust your posture in ways that will help prevent muscle fatigue. Be sure to take frequent breaks from standing or sitting. If you must sit or stand for long periods of time, elevate one foot on a low stool or foot rest. Also, wear good, supportive shoes, and avoid wearing high heeled shoes, which place extra strain on the

It is also possible to manage pregnancy back pain at night by maintaining a regular exercise program. Regular exercise will help strengthen and support the spine, therefore helping to minimize strain and muscle fatigue. Exercise and postural adjustments will help to minimize night time back pain, but may not completely prevent it.

Many women find pain relief in alternative approaches such as acupuncture and massage therapy, though this relief may be only temporary. There are a variety of gentle hands on techniques that can be performed at home, which are also beneficial for relieving pregnancy related back pain.

Unfortunately, anti-inflammatory medications such as motrin, advil, and aspirin are contraindicated during pregnancy. The only pain reliever considered safe during pregnancy is acetaminophen.

Soaking in a hot tub or whirlpool is not recommended during pregnancy. You may however find a warm, not hot, bath can soothe your sore back. Try adding Epsom salt to a warm bath to help relieve pain.




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Chest Pain During Pregnancy

October 5, 2011 by  
Filed under Chest Pain



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Chest pain during pregnancy can come from wide and varied causes. During pregnancy you are likely to experience pains in many different areas of your body. If you are having persistent chest pain it is wise to be cautious and contact your doctor.

Causes of Chest Pain During Pregnancy

  • Indigestion- gas can get trapped under your ribs and cause a great deal of pain and discomfort. See Gas and Stomach Pain for more information
  • Pressure from your baby- Pressure from your baby on your diaphragm or ribs can cause pain in the chest area. See Rib Pain for more information.
  • Anemia- if you are severely anemic this can cause chest pain. Other symptoms include fatigue, looking pale, shortness of breath, decreased color in your fingernails or in the lining underneath eyelids, fainting and heart palpitations. If you suspect you might be anemic, contact your doctor.
  • Widening of the rib cage- During pregnancy your rib cage becomes wider. This can cause strain on your muscles. It is not uncommon for women to feel short of breath, particularly as your baby gets larger and puts increasing pressure on the diaphragm
  • Asthma- If you have a history of asthma, pregnancy can aggravate your symptoms.
  • Breasts- Your breasts are increasing in weight and size. This puts a lot of tension on your chest.
  • Stress- can cause chest tension, difficulty breathing, pain and muscle tension.
  • Back Pain- can refer pain into the chest area. See Back Pain for more information

Preventing and Treating Chest Pain During Pregnancy

  • Be sure you are getting adequate amounts of iron, calcium and magnesium in your diet.
  • Use pregnancy pain relief techniques to take pressure off the chest and abdomen.
  • Practice stress relieving techniques.
  • Practice prenatal yoga

When to Call Your Doctor

  • You are having severe chest pain.
  • You have chest pain that is persistent
  • You have chest pain accompanied by weakness, dizziness, palpitations or shortness of breath.
  • You are having spotting or bleeding.




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Upper Back Pain or Thoracic Pain During Pregnancy

September 26, 2011 by  
Filed under Upper Back or Thoracic Pain



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Upper back pain is common during pregnancy. It can occur at any point during the pregnancy term, and is often related to the changes taking place in the mother’s breast tissue.

Causes of Upper Back Pain or Thoracic Pain During Pregnancy

  • imageHormones- During pregnancy the body produces a hormone called relaxin, whose primary role is to help soften the tissues and joints of the pelvis in order to allow for childbirth. Though this is true, these hormones affect all the joints and muscles in the body, causing changes in body tension and posture which can translate into pain.
  • Poor Posture- slouching and round shoulders can contribute to or cause upper back pain.
  • Breast changes- During pregnancy the breasts increase in size, becoming fuller and heavier. This creates pressure on the shoulders, neck and back, pulling on them resulting in pain.
  • Weight gain- As your baby grows your weight increases and your back gets strained from supporting the extra weight.
  • Improper Lifting- Bending, twisting, heavy lifting and sitting for extended periods of time can contribute to upper back pain.
  • Stress- Stress creates tension in the body. The upper back is a very common place to experience stress tension. Try some of our stress relieving tips.

Preventing Upper Back Pain or Thoracic Pain Before it Begins

  • Practice good posture- don’t slouch, be sure to keep your shoulders back and your head up. The weight of your body during pregnancy pulls decidedly foreword. To counterbalance this you need good posture.
  • If you are sitting for prolonged periods of time, take breaks at least every half hour.
  • Practice safe lifting and bending. To lower your body, bend at the knees instead of the waist. Use your thigh muscles to push yourself back up without using your back.
  • Try a pregnancy support belt.
  • Exercise regularly to support and strengthen your back.
  • Pregnancy massage (prenatal massage) is excellent for keeping your body loose and free of pain.
  • Get your partner or friend to practice hands on pregnancy pain relief techniques on your body.
  • Chiropractic visits can help prevent back pain.
  • imageAcupuncture can help keep you balanced and prevent aching.
  • Prenatal Yoga can help keep your body loose and comfortable.
  • Be sure you are getting adequate calcium and magnesium in your diet.
  • Drink plenty of fluids.

Treatment for Upper Back Pain or Thoracic Pain During Pregnancy

  • Use ice or heat.
  • Take acetaminophen for pain.
  • See a chiropractor, massage therapist or acupuncturist.
  • Use a pregnancy belt or support device.
  • Have your partner help you with hands on techniques such as those in the Pregnancy Pain Relief Book.
  • Herbal Medicine.
  • Take a Warm Bath.

When You Should Call Your Doctor

  • Your back pain is very intense.
  • Your pain is getting increasingly worse or you have sudden stabbing pain.




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Vaginal Pain During Pregnancy

September 22, 2011 by  
Filed under Vaginal Pain



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imageMany normal changes occur in the vagina during pregnancy. Your vagina has more blood flow, which may cause it to have a swollen appearance or look darker. You will likely experience vaginal discharge that is white and slightly acidic. This is normal. Pain in the vagina or pain in the crotch area during pregnancy can result from a number of causes including varicose veins, round ligament pain, and pressure on the cervix.

Causes of Vaginal Pain During Pregnancy

  • Round ligament pain- The round ligaments help support the uterus. Stretching of these ligaments can cause pain in the abdomen, hips, pelvis, groin, thighs and vagina. If you get sudden sharp or shooting pains in your vagina, stretching of the round ligament is a likely cause.
  • Braxtion Hicks- Braxton Hicks contractions are “practice” contractions that occur in the uterus to exercise it and prepare it for childbirth. They could possibly cause vaginal discomfort.
  • Vaginitis- is any infection that causes abnormal discharge, redness, soreness or itching around the vagina. This can indicate bacterial infection or possible an allergy. See your doctor is you have these symptoms.
  • Yeast Infection-some vaginal discharge is normal during pregnancy. When you have a yeast infection this discharge becomes, thick, white and creamy like cottage cheese and is accompanied by intense itching and irritation in the vagina. See your doctor if you have these symptoms.
  • Pressure from the baby on the cervix- As your baby grows and drops lower in preparation for birth they may put pressure on the cervix, causing vaginal pain.
  • Baby Kicking the cervix- Your baby can kick your cervix, causing vaginal pain.
  • imageCervix Dilating- As your cervix begins to dilate you may experience pain in your vagina.
  • Varicose Veins- Varicose Veins can occur inside the vagina and are quite painful.
  • Thrombosis- baby can pinch on a vein causing pain in the vagina.
  • Labor Contractions and Childbirth.

Treatment for Vaginal Pain during Pregnancy

  • See the section about round ligament pain.
  • Wear support pantyhose.
  • Lay down and elevate your legs and feet.
  • Take a warm bath.

When to Call Your Doctor

  • You are having severe pain or think you might be in labor.
  • You have abnormal vaginal discharge.
  • You are have a fever accompanied by pain.




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